Category: Achievements

Kerala’s own bank, ‘Kerala Bank’ turns into reality

Banking domain has a significant part in enervating a state’s economy and its development progression. The concept of Kerala Bank took shape with the goal of being beneficial for our state’s progress and comprehensive development. As the government completes three and half years, Kerala Bank has been realized as promised in the election manifesto, creating history in the banking domain.


What is Kerala Bank?

Election manifesto promised a bank at the state level merging the state cooperative bank and district cooperative banks. The aim behind the decision was to combine Kerala’s banking requirements. The goals behind the concept of Kerala Bank included providing loans to common people at lower interest rates, making investments by diasporic Malayalis possible and creating a banking system which enables people’s intervention in state’s social issues. The foundational target of Kerala Bank is to ensure the accessibility of safe and reliable modern banking services to everyone. 


When the current government got into power, the decision to form Kerala Bank was announced. An expert committee under the chairmanship of Dr. M. S. Sriram (Indian Institute of Management – IIM) was constituted to study and submit a report regarding the formation of Kerala Bank. The steps to set up Kerala Cooperative Bank by merging state cooperative banks and district cooperative banks were initiated based on this expert panel report. Reserve Bank was approached for the setting up of Kerala Bank. In spite of some attempts against the realization of Kerala Bank, government went ahead against all odds. Reserve Bank granted permission for Kerala Bank with certain conditions. With high court’s orders on cases involved, another dream project of the state turned into reality. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did the official announcement of Kerala Bank.


Benefits targeted by Kerala Bank

A big opportunity for the growth of cooperative banks in Kerala has been intended through Kerala Bank. Kerala Bank will strengthen novel ideas and plans in the agricultural and commercial domain. The commencement of Kerala Bank will help in making services available to consumers economically, reducing the interest rates for loans and intervening more effectively in the area of micro finance.


More agricultural loans can be provided through Kerala Bank and at an interest rate lower than the existing rates. Interest rates can also be reduced for non- agricultural loans.


With the arrival of Kerala Bank, loans and deposits are expected to increase by several fold. By attaining the capacity to collect foreign investment, transaction and trade of foreign currency will increase. With Kerala Bank attaining a significant portion of NRI investments which are currently under the dominion of public sector and private sector- new generation banks, cooperative sector will see a leap in the credit sanctioning ability. 


Completely digitalized banking services will be made possible. The exploitation carried out by public sector- private- new generation banks in the name of digital transaction and other service charges can be ended. With the cooperative banking sector achieving modern technical advancement, more young consumers can be attracted to this sector. Currently, only 23% make up consumers who are below 50 years of age. Compared to the individually existing banks, the coordinated Kerala bank will be more capable to provide the technological facilities required by the youth. It will also be possible for Kerala bank to acquire the “brand value” demanded by the youth.


The Second-biggest bank in Kerala

With the merging of District cooperative banks to the State Cooperative bank, Kerala bank will be able to the level of a reserve bank recognized, nationally and internationally renowned bank offering all kinds of services. Kerala bank will be the second biggest bank when it gets launched. At first, Kerala bank will have 825 branches. There is already an investment of more than 65000 crores. As the bank gets permission for accepting NRI investment and its service is made accessible to the rural population, it is certain that Kerala bank will become the foremost bank in Kerala. 


Apart from the state and district banks, there are 1625 primary cooperatives and 60 licensed urban banks in Kerala. These will become the members or shareholders of Kerala bank. There are more than 4500 branches for these primary cooperatives and urban banks put together. There is an investment of over one lakh crore rupees. The banking network comprising all these will be sufficient for carrying out the banking requirements of the state. 


Kerala bank, which will be formed by merging district cooperative banks to state bank as an alternative to the commercial banking sector in Kerala that consists of 21 public sector banks, one grameen bank, 19 private commercial banks and 2 small finance banks, and the 1600 plus primary cooperatives and urban banks, which will be the members of the Kerala bank, could work upholding the interests of the state. 


With the formation of the Kerala Bank, primary agricultural loan groups and their members would be its biggest beneficiaries. They are the rightful inheritors and owners of Kerala Bank. Government’s outlook of maintaining the transparency of agricultural loan- banking activities is behind the policy. All modern banking facilities will be made available to the consumers through Kerala Bank.  More loans can be made available at lower interest rates. Another advantage is that more loans can be made available to the members and thereby increase the profit margin. It will be possible to transfer various benefits of central and state governments directly to the accounts of rural beneficiaries.


It is to be particularly emphasized that the refinance amount from NABARD can be increased as the financial position of the Kerala bank is strong. Thereby, the agricultural loan proportion could also be increased. As the working value of the bank increases, there will be an increase of profit dividend. It will also be possible to make effective intervention in the microfinance sector. The benefits of banking technologies could be provided to the non-loaning cooperatives too, along with the existing provision of services and authority.


As the existing district banks get merged to the Kerala bank, they will receive the status of scheduled banks (They did not have the qualification for scheduled bank according to the RBI act of 1934). The State cooperative bank will be able to attain financial stability through the Kerala bank. The boosted strength from the merging of banks will enable better intervention towards the development of Kerala. Through Kerala bank, a more effective intervention into the growth of the cooperative movement will also be possible.


Reserve bank and NABARD will be able to supervise the core banking and modern banking facilities through the computerized system. The induction of a board of management and professionally trained top level officials will help improving the efficiency of the bank. As all laws pertaining to scheduled banks will be applicable to Kerala bank too, the aspect of transparency will also be ensured. 


It will be possible to create an exemplary model in front of the world for state and central governments through Kerala bank. It will help attaining the government’s goals such as Digital India, economic inclusiveness, economic literacy. Making the local economy more productive and dynamic will boost our market. The ability to financially support for the development goals will encourage the government to take up bigger projects. A better control of the governance will be possible through the Kerala bank.


Representatives of primary cooperatives and urban banks will be the administrators of the bank. The realization of a big bank based on cooperative democracy is indeed a proud moment for the cooperative members. It will be also possible for the young generation to have more employment opportunities through the bank. The objective of a “people’s bank for the development of the land” could also be realized through the Kerala bank.


The goal of long-term development

Government’s goal is Kerala state’s consistent development. Strong social-economic institutions   are necessary in order to turn this goal into reality. Through government’s Nava Kerala Mission, attempts are being made to find permanent solution for basic amenities like good quality public schools, public health centers, agricultural- economic development and housing. We must be able to progress in the matter of basic amenities. Kerala Bank, the catalyst for this progress, will be our own, strong economic nerve.

 

Investment promises from Japan and Korea

Development of basic amenities suitable for the future of Kerala, attracting investments and modern industries in a way that contributes to this goal, improving production, ensuring just distribution of resources are some of the fundamental lines of action presented in the government’s manifesto. The government is making interventions keeping these lines of action in view. It is due to this that we are reaching big accomplishments that never happened before in the history of Kerala. Finding investment opportunities that can fuel the state’s development progress as a continuation of this was the goal behind the foreign trip of chief minister and group this time. 


The visit to Japan and Korea was intended as stepping into the next stage of growth in the domains of basic amenities, education, health, and new industries. The visits were completed successfully.


The stance of this government is to increase the production and distribute them justly. It is only by doing so, the lives of people can be led forward constructively. For that, the knowledge attained by humanity in the field of science and technology should be accepted and utilized in the scientific field as per the state’s requirements. Countries like Japan and Korea have progressed in different spheres of development using the information from the fields of science and technology. The special attention given to development approaches involving environmental peculiarities is important to areas like Kerala, which is often bothered by natural disasters.


After every official visit, the information regarding the benefits of the trip has been shared. The trip which has been completed now is one that is beneficial for the fields like Kerala’s higher education, health (medical equipment), tourism, IT, food processing, fisheries, skill development, waste management, and disaster management. 


In fact, this trip was undertaken to keep the younger generation of Kerala in mind. Therefore, special attention was taken to ensure that each meeting of the trip proves to be beneficial to the youth. As a result of this trip, steps to ensure higher education with international standards, skill training suitable for modern times and job opportunities emerging thereby to the youth of Kerala, have been taken.


 

Japan

Some Japanese companies have already made investments in Kerala and are managing industries. They have a great impression of Kerala. Japanese Ambassador in India had made it clear that Kerala is suitable for Japanese investments and industries. Through Japan’s visits and meetings, the effort was to utilize this positive situation more effectively.  Japan is a country at the forefront in the case of small scale and medium scale industries. In the matter of technology and modern industries based on technology, it also the frontline country in the world. These two are industries most suitable for Kerala. Therefore, attempts were made to draw more of them to Kerala. 


With the first meeting in Japan itself, investment of 200 crore rupees was confirmed to Kerala. So, Japan’s visit was a positive start. The investment of hundreds of crores was ensured from Japan alone.


The decision of Nitta Gelatin, which has 40 years of working experience in Kerala, to additionally invest 200 crore rupees as a part of expanding their activities is a recognition for the changed investment-friendly situation in the state. Terumo Corporation has decided to invest Rs 105 crore in Thiruvananthapuram Terumo Penpol. This will help Kerala manufacture 10 percent of the blood bags required in the world.


A letter of intent for the exchange of Lithium Titanium Oxide (LTO) battery technology was signed with Toshiba. It is being attempted to begin these modern battery units in collaboration with any of the public sector establishments in Kerala. Currently, there is no factory in India making this type of battery.


We have an electric vehicle policy intending to launch 10 lakh electric vehicles on the roads of Kerala by 2022. Extensive efforts are being made to bring it into execution. The electric bus is being manufactured in association with the Swiss company, Hess. LTO electric battery will be used in them as well as water transport systems including the Kochi water metro. Studies are being conducted to arrange a conducive situation for electric vehicles. Further steps on the contract with Toshiba will be taken as this gets completed.


Discussions were also carried out with Toyota to install a hydrogen fuel cell factory, considered as the fuel of the future. A letter of intent will be signed for this purpose. GS Caltechs Corporation has expressed interest in installing a lubricant blending unit in the Petrochemical complex at Ernakulam. A group comprised of 5 mayors are coming to Kerala from Sanin province in Japan to understand the investment possibilities in IT, Ayurveda and small scale – medium scale industries.


Nearly 150 investors participated in the investor’s meet held at Tokyo. They were invited to make investments in Kerala in the fields of construction, industrial infrastructure development, marketing hub, health, tourism, IT, bio technology and agricultural industries. 


It was ascertained there that the companies which have already made investments in Kerala, including Nissan and Frasco, are satisfied with the existing situation in the state. This has been a helpful experience to bring further investments to Kerala. Japan External Trade Organization was invited to open their office at Trivandrum. 


 

Education & Skills sector

Osaka University, one of the best in the world, has expressed interest in offering sandwich courses to postgraduate students from Kerala. It has also been decided that Shimane University in collaboration with CUSAT will start a 4+2 year course designed in such a way that the candidates will receive degree from both the universities. It has been decided to begin the process of offering a one year postgraduate certificate course in collaboration with CUSAT which will consist of 6 months each in Japan and Kerala. Shimane University will also discuss with other universities in Kerala about initiating similar courses. With the help of Professor Fawu Wang, Chair of UNESCO’S Geoscience and Natural Disaster Reduction, programme for skill development will be conducted in Kerala to face environmental changes. Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship has expressed interest in starting a Japanese language course in 2 community skill parks of Kerala


 

Korea

In the matter of technology and technology-based modern industries, Korea is also a frontline country in the world like Japan. The mission to introduce Kerala to Korea was undertaken in the Korean trip. The possibilities of direct export of marine products and food was discussed. Korea Importers Association also decided to visit marine products processing zone to analyze this field in Kerala and to begin exporting thereafter. They have also expressed a wish to start a test centre at KSIDC’s Cherthala Food Park. Currently, the products exporting to Korea are taken through Vietnam. With the initation of test centre, direct export will be possible.


LK- Hightech, the supplier of Hyundai vehicle parts has requested land (15000 sq. ft) at Palakkad to start a new manufacturing unit. Investors from Korea have expressed interest in areas like IT, Led production, automobile components, food processing, small scale –middle scale industries, logistics, and supply chain. 


In the field of Education and Skill development, it has been decided that the Fisheries University in Kerala will work in cooperation with the World Fisheries University that is to be established as part of the World Food and Agricultural Organization. As part of this, a training program will be designed for the fishermen and the officials in collaboration with the Pukyong University. Pukyong University has also expressed an interest to collaborate in the field of Ayurveda.


Busan Port Authority has expressed its willingness to train our port officers. It was also decided to sign an MoU to collaborate in order to raise our ports and harbors to an international standard. 


Waste Management- The visit to waste management plants in Busan and Seoul deserves special mention. It enabled an understanding as to how waste management, as well as electricity production from waste, were done in these places with the help of modern technologies. These were models that could be emulated in Kerala. The discussion was held on semi high-speed rail with JIKA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and Hyundai. Both have expressed their willingness to collaborate.


In our federal system, the responsibility to ensure the development of the state is on state governments. Therefore, the Left Democratic Front government is taking this responsibility with utmost seriousness. So, we should collaborate with those countries which are willing to do so, while protecting the interests of the state. 


Visiting Hiroshima memorial during the Japan visit and paying respect on behalf of Kerala need to be specially mentioned. It was not just a ceremonious event. Rather, it was indeed a reaffirmation of our pledge towards disarmament and world peace. The preservation of culture and history in both Korea and Japan and the imparting of the same to the younger generation using modern technologies is a model worth emulating. 


Better law and order, high standards of living, a people who increasingly use modern technologies, a corruption-less stable government, etc. are some of the reasons which encourage countries like Japan and Korea to come to Kerala. It is certain that the collaboration with these countries will help the development of Kerala and the progress of our future generations.

MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE, GOVERNMENT PRESENTED POWER HIGHWAY TO THE STATE

One more project, considered impossible, gets actualized in the state. It is the Edamon- Kochi transmission line project which got completed. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the Edamon- Kochi 400 KV transmission line at the event held at Adoor.


The completion of this project is also the historical moment which makes way for big leaps in the domains of power transmission supply and agriculture of the state. Owing to the staunch protests from landowners, Power grid Corporation had even decided at one point to leave the project, which had been delayed for long. Government brought the Edamon- Kochi 400 KV transmission line project to a success through its constant intervention in the project activities and allowance of an attractive compensation package.


STEPS TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COMPLETION OF PROJECT

It was through a precise intervention that the Government brought back life to the project, which was even considered by the Power grid Corporation of India Ltd for abandonment at a point.


Supervisions and evaluation meetings conducted under the leadership of chief minister and minister for the concerned department.

Issues were resolved by including elected representatives.

Scrutiny by a group of higher-level officials headed by chief secretary till the completion of the project.

The cases related to the taking up of land were settled out of court, thereby gaining court’s approval.

The land price for deciding the compensation was settled as five times of the fair value.

Compensation was given for the trees and crops that had to be cut down at 46 m wide area and also for the 16m wide line corridor. The compensation was given without taking up the land, thereby sustaining the landowners’ ownership rights.

One lakh rupees was additionally sanctioned for the houses which come under the line, which are more than 340 in number.

Higher towers were built so as to reduce the number of trees cut down.

This line had been setup over 15 extra high tension lines with minimal obstruction to power supply.

A special task force was formed in KSEB to alleviate people’s confusions regarding the project and to coordinate the process.

Along with this, tahsildar offices were set up in 4 districts to make the evaluation and distribution of compensation faster.

Evaluation meetings conducted at higher level each month and timely interventions at crisis situations aided in the time-bound completion of the project.

In order to complete the project, a resettlement package of 256 cr was allocated to the districts of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Ernakulam.


WHAT IS EDAMON- KOCHI 400 KV TRANSMISSION LINE?

With the completion of Edamon- Kochi 400 KV line (148.3 km), Tirunelveli- Kochi-Thrissur- Udumalpettu 400 KV power highway (437 km) has become materialized. With the supply of electricity through this line with 2000 Mega Watt transmission potential, a voltage increase of 2 KV at an average in transmission areas became possible. The power supply in interstate lines which used to bring in power at maximum potential such as Udumalpett- Palakkad, Mysore- Areekode, was reduced proportionately. On September 25, 2019, power supply began through this line which was planned to bring in Kerala’s share of 266 Mega Watt from Koodamkulam Nuclear Station at a minimal transmission loss. The main advantage with the completion of this line is that electricity can be supplied from anywhere in India through 400 KV transmission grid.


Kerala’s electricity production capacity is 2980 megawatt. However, the consumption of electricity has gone up to 4350MW. This deficit is managed by bringing the electricity that is available at low-cost from other states to Kerala. Central electricity control offices had put restrictions on bringing electricity from other states considering the lack of high-voltage electricity lines to Kerala. So far, the electricity importing capacity of Kerala was only 2920MW. Along with an increase in the capacity of line, with the completion of Tirunalveli-Kochi line, it is also possible to bring with reduced transmission loss the electricity available from other states at a lower price. Around 20MW (102 million units per year) was estimated to be the transmission loss while the 266MW electricity from Koodamkulam was brought through Udumalpettu before the completion of this line. This loss can now be avoided. The state faced the lack of 400MW electricity several times. Besides, the lines which were brining electricity from outside were nearing their full capacity. The 400 KV Edamon-Kochi line that is completed now is a permanent solution to all these issues.400/220 KV Multi-circuit line from Tirunalveli to Edamon was completed in 2010.


The 400 KV Edamon-Kochi line with 148.3 KM length and 447 towers passes through 4 districts, namely, Kollam (22 KM), Pathanamthitta (47 KM), Kottayam (51 KM) and Ernakulam (28 KM). The line which has 16 metre corridor has a 46 metre right of way. The permission for the project was given on 19-08-2005 and the construction of power grid after the completion of tender procedures was started in 2008 March. As the work was underway in full fledge, the project which was intended to be completed by 2010 was completely interrupted because of the strong protests from the property owners. After this government took office, construction work was completely resumed on 09.03.2017 which was completed on 14.09.2019.


BENEFITS OF THE PROJECT

With the realization of the state’s first 400 KV power highway which is the Tirunelveli- Kochi-Thrissur- Udumalpettu line, state’s capability to import power supply has increased. Also, it becomes possible to use the share from Central pool completely with precision. As a result the line availability is ensured and power distribution shall be uninterrupted during repair works. It becomes possible to reduce the congestion in the lines of Kerala – Tamil Nadu area. Transmission loss reduced significantly and supply of power in better voltage becomes possible. Distribution of power supply at a low rate and long time basis becomes possible. It will also be possible to build the required 400 KV substations (Kottayam, Edamon) for enhancing the transmission capacity. Also with the completion of Madakkathara-Kozhikode 400 KV line, the availability of electricity in the Malabar region will increase.

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An Investment Initiative of Rupees Ten Thousand Crore Coming to Kerala: Chief Minister Promises the Formation of Investment Council

Various companies have offered an investment of 10000 crores at the investor’s conference held, under the leadership of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in Dubai to attract foreign investment to Kerala. Offers include DP World (3500 crore), RP Group (1000 crore), Lulu group (1500 crore), Aster (500 crore) and other small scale investors (3500 crore). Among these, DP world is investing in shipping and logistics, RP group in tourism, Lulu in retailing and Aster in health.


 Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the aim is to bring Kerala to the frontline in the matter of investments. He was speaking at the Nonresident Keralites Emerging Entrepreneur’s Meet (NEEM) held at Dubai by Overseas Keralites Investments and Holdings Company. Higher level investment council will be formed to provide necessary aid to expatriate investors. Chief Minister assured the expatriate investors that Kerala is progressing in every respect and requested them to come forward and make investments, using this opportunity.


 Drawing investments of Malayali expatriates to Kerala was one of the major ideas that came up in the first Loka Kerala Sabha Convention held in January 2018. 7 subject- based committees were formed on the basis of discussions happened there. These committees made 48 recommendations to the government. The secretariat of Loka Kerala Sabha classified them into 4 categories- investment, welfare, efficiency and art and cultural, and selected 10 recommendations based on feasibility and availability of funds. The most important recommendation among these was the formation of NRI Investment Company. Following this, the investment company Overseas Keralite’s Investment and Holdings Limited was registered to attract expatriate investment. Government owns 26 percentage of company’s share capital and remaining 74 percentage was collected from expatriate keralites. Government shall make use of this company to receive investments from expatriates and to execute practical programmes through related institutions.


State has made a big leap in setting up basic facilities necessary to encourage investments. Kerala is one of the frontline states in India going by any of the yardsticks of development. According to the public affairs index, kerala has the first place in Governance in India since 2016. According to the surveys conducted by India Today etc, we are also at the top in the matter of law and order maintenance. Kerala is the state with no communal riots and is also the state with best health index according to the latest Niti Ayog report. The statistics released by the Mumbai-based organization, ‘India Migration Now’ proves that Kerala is the best state in the country in the matter of friendly attitude to migrant laborers and providing required protection for them. The realization of Coimbatore-Kochi industrial corridor shall pave way for a big leap in the state’s industrial development. Coimbatore- Kochi corridor will be connected to Chennai- Bangalore industrial corridor. Kerala was not included in the National Industrial Corridor project initially. Chief Minister said that the state was recognized after state government prepared special plan and exerted constant pressure on Central government.


Chief Minister also informed that industrial clusters will be formed in relation to industrial corridor. Gail pipeline project aimed at direct distribution of natural gas will be completed by December. Only 3 kilometers remain for the pipe to be laid in the total 408 kilometers. As the LNG terminal also gets realized, low cost and less polluted fuel will be available in plenty across the state. This government is planning and executing various projects suitable to the new age through the industrial department. Priority is given to the projects suiting the Kerala conditions like production of value added products from agricultural crops. Wayanad carbon neutral village coffee park, Rice parks of Palakkad, Thrissur and Alappuzha, CIAL model Rubber Company and the coconut- based industries are examples. Both agricultural and industrial sectors shall attain same improvement through these novel projects. Kerala can make huge leaps in all fronts if more investments and investors come through. As the well-wishers of the state’s progress and the keen observers of its every changes, it is our expatriate community who can effectively recognize the hopeful changes happening in our investment front and thereby, lead the way for global investors – chief minister said.


 Chief Minister said that world kerala center will be established to strengthen the relations between the expatriate and Kerala. NORKA expatriate ID card owners and their family members will receive 7% reduction in the travel fare from Oman Airways and efforts will be made to receive the same from more airplane companies. Chief Minister was speaking in the meet with expatriate malayalis at Dubai Indian Academy School as a part of the UAE visit. Central civil aviation minister has promised to allow more aeroplanes for special occasions in those sector. Assurance was given that beforehand information regarding the planes and the chance to book them will be provided.


 Kerala government has formed many a programmes for the welfare of the expatriate community. Keralites who have high expertise are working in different parts of the world. Loka Kerala Sabha was formed as a part of making use of their knowledge for the state. It has been possible to ensure safe savings for the expatriates and the development of the state through Kerala Pravasi Chitfund. Various programmes like Business facilitation centre, rehabilitation programme for the returning emigrants ‘norka department project for return emigrants’ etc have been formed under NORKA Roots. In the last fiscal year, 25 crores were distributed through Santhwanam programme for ensuring the welfare of returning emigrants who have to endure financial and physical hardships. This year, over 10 crore rupees was distributed to 1718 beneficiaries. A recruitment section has been working at the Norka Roots centre to ensure that recruitments are safe and transparent. Norka Roots is the recruitment agency recognized by the central government. Government is seriously considering a project for giving training to the labourers to get them recognized. In this way, they get the chance to enter the job as the part of training. Facilities have been arranged at the Norka Roots regional centres for certificate attestation. Norka Roots is the only institution in Kerala authorized by the central government to attest education certificates. Expatriate ID cards are being distributed to resolve the difficulty in contacting Kerala government. Any emigrant Keralite with the multi-purpose photo ID card will receive required service easily through Norka Roots. So far, 4 lakh people have received the ID card online. Every cardholder shall receive 2 lakh rupees as personal accident coverage. Steps have been taken to ensure the aid of Malayali lawyers to those who face legal issues in their emigrant life- chief minister said.


Necessary interventions are made in the central government to increase the number of Malayali employees in the embassy. Global Contact Center has started from 15th February. This toll free facility can be used 24 hours a day to register complaints or services for the expatriates. The centre can be contacted through phone, email, SMS and live chat. A women NRI cell has started functioning at the NORKA roots to deal with the issues faced by women expatriates. Training programmes have been prepared to enhance skill and expertise in accordance with the changes in technology. In relation to this, an international employer conference will be held at Kochi in December.


The ambulance service started in collaboration with IMA to bring sick people and expired people has been beneficial to many. The hike in expatriate pension from 200 rupees to 500 rupees is a part of the concern for expatriate Keralites. Standing with them, the government is trying to solve every issues of emigrants, small and big. There should not be any hesitance to reach out to the government in any issue and at any time. Chief Minister promised necessary steps in this regard.

/ In Achievements / By CM WEB / Comments Off on An Investment Initiative of Rupees Ten Thousand Crore Coming to Kerala: Chief Minister Promises the Formation of Investment Council

ROADS TO HAVE E-AUTOS

Auto rickshaws play a significant role in fulfilling the on- road transportation needs of common people in the state. Auto rickshaws act as the chauffeurs for the rides of common people in every nook and corner of the state, including cities and villages. Most of the auto rickshaws on the road runs on petrol and diesel. Therefore, we will be able to move forward in this new age only by finding solutions to environmental issues caused by air pollution among others. It is in this context that the state government conceptualized the idea of eco-friendly e-autos. This concept has now turned into a reality. E-auto is being manufactured and put on road by Kerala Automobiles, a public sector establishment. It is for the first time in the country that a public sector establishment is venturing into the field of electric auto manufacturing. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the commercial-scale production of Kerala’s own e-auto ‘Neem-G’.

Inaugurating the project, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Kerala is going to be a land of e-vehicles. The government is trying for better advancement of electric vehicles in the state. People who are welcoming to changes is our strong point. Building charging stations on a wide scale is being thought about. As a start, charging station has been opened in the secretariat. Besides autos, e-cars have also started appearing on the roads. If we wish, we can create a situation wherein e-autos are riding on all our roads. The advantage is that an eco-friendly environment can thus be created. E-vehicles are a relief in the times of rising fuel prices. Kerala Automobiles has flagged off a revolutionary change. For the first time, a public sector undertaking has come to the E-Vehicle field and it is a reason for a boost in pride. The willingness of institutions like ISRO to place orders with Kerala Automobiles can pave way for the progress of the establishment. Chief Minister also said that the establishment, which was in a pathetic condition earlier, has redeemed itself in a proud manner.

Electric auto rickshaw had earlier received the certification of Automotive Research Association of India. By charging for 3 hours and 50 minutes, the auto can travel for 100 kilometers. It costs 50 paisa for a kilometer. E- Autos will be launched in market by Onam. The plan is to manufacture 8000 autos per year. The cost of e- auto is around 2.5 lakh and subsidies are expected to be made available.

Kerala’s Electric Pivot

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that 10 lakh electric vehicles will be brought out by 2022 as part of implementing the electronic transportation policy. Chief Minister, while inaugurating the ‘evolve’ e- mobility conference, said that the aim is to launch 2 lakh two- wheelers, 50,000 three – wheelers, 1000 goods carriers, 3000 buses and 100 ferry boats.

In the context of green tribunal’s ban of diesel vehicles in 6 cities, Kerala had seriously thought about alternative reusable sources of energy. Though the ban was later given a stay, Kerala was adamant in its commitment towards environmental protection. The use of CNG LLG fuels was started as a part of this. 5 CNG stations were started in Kochi. First LLG bus and first solar and electric boats were began in Kerala.

The draft for electronic vehicle policy was prepared by the committee formed under the leadership of Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT Madras. Following this, a workshop was held for stake holders. Government’s final approval for the Electronic Vehicle Policy was also based on recommendations of this workshop.

Chief Minister said that the investors have a great scope in the electric vehicle industry. Kerala Automobile’s Ltd, which was set up to manufacture electric vehicles, is aiming at bringing out 8000 electric auto rickshaws every year. KAL is the first PSU in India to produce electric auto rickshaws. 3000 e-buses will also be made for KSRTC. Chief Minister stated that this is the first project that receives European investment for e-bus manufacturing.

Chief Minister carried out the virtual inauguration of charging station at Indian Oil Corporation’s Pump in Idappally and the launching of Center of Excellence that is to be started in Trivandrum. Memorandums of Understanding regarding the production of electric vehicles were also exchanged during the event. The first application for electric vehicle subsidy was also received.

Geneva listened stubborn voice for Rebuilding Kerala

Address by Pinarayi Vijayan, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala at the
Opening Session of World Reconstruction Conference held at
Geneva on May 13, 2019.

The State of Kerala, which I represent here, is situated in the
southern part of the Indian peninsula and is known for its rich and
diverse natural heritage. However, we did not have to face natural
calamities of significant magnitude for more than ninety years. But
the recent unprecedented floods of August 2018, posed a new and a
major challenge to our Government and civil society.
Kerala was very badly affected by this flood in which there was loss
of 453 precious human lives. In addition, 280 thousand houses
were lost or damaged, 140 thousand hectares of standing crops were
destroyed and about 70 thousand kilometres of road network
suffered major damage. The total recovery needs of the State has
been estimated as around 4.4 billion US dollars, as per the Post
Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) conducted by the UN
Agencies.
But our society met this with exemplary determination. The spirit of
courage, especially among the youth and students has its roots in the
uniqueness of Kerala society due to the inbibing of the values of
famous renaissance movement, which took place in our society in
the last two centuries. The secular fabric of our society ensured that
no differences could stand in the way of meeting this natural
calamity challenge.
The civil society and the Government in Kerala acted swiftly and
in unison in the hour of crisis. The fisher-folk who brave the sea
for a livelihood deserve our special gratitude for their timely
intervention without which we would have lost many more lives.

 

The Government machinery worked hard to respond on a real time
basis to meet the emergent crisis.
The Chief Minister and the concerned Ministers along with the
officials met more than once in a day for closely monitoring and
reviewing the situation. Along with State Government officials,
representatives of the Armed forces also actively participated.
Rescue of people trapped in houses and moving them to safer
places was the top priority and this was done effectively with
societal participation as mentioned earlier.
Our Government efficiently channelized the contributions of
thousands of citizens, the Kerala diaspora and aid agencies to get
the State back on its feet. Affected families were given immediate
relief in cash and kind. Critical infrastructure like power supply was
restored in record time. The State Government in cooperation
with Local Government institutions, civil society and mass
organisations organised a massive drive for cleaning flood affected
houses, provision of drinking water, medicines and essential
supplies.
A comprehensive programme to rebuild lost and damaged houses
has been launched. Loans for recovery of essential house-hold
articles lost and damaged during the floods from our Co-operative
Banks and commercial banks where chanalized through the widely
networked Women’s self help group Kudumbashree. The interest
payment on these loans was borne by the Government of Kerala.
Our Government also ensured wage employment to needy families
by augmenting the ongoing employment programme. Our
Government is also providing financial assistance with beneficiary
involvement for rebuilding damaged houses and constructing
completely lost houses.
We have presently taken up the challenging task of rebuilding Kerala
better. In other words, our aim is not to restore what was in
existence before the flood, but to build a new Kerala which will be
resilient to any possible natural disasters in future.

 

The Rebuild Kerala Initiative is being carried out in a mission mode.
Eco-friendly building strategies, giving more room for rivers,
learning to live with floods etc. are the key ingredients of this
initiative. Kerala which has a long history of implementing social
security measures and several progressive interventions like land
reforms, state action in education and health, expects to fulfil the
present task also through peoples’ participation. For this, the strong
institutional framework of decentralisation of governance will be of
great support.
Our rehabilitation packages give utmost importance to the basic
needs of food and shelter to the least empowered sections of the
society. We have also taken care to ensure that these sections get
these as a matter of entitlement and rights and not as a gratis from
the state or the society.
To conclude, I would like to note here that during the first week of
May 2019 the cyclone Fani badly affected the Indian State Odisha.
But damage to human life could be controlled due to sufficient early
warning. This brings before us the fact that early warning systems
should work effectively as the variations in climatic patterns due to
global warming have increased the frequency of natural calamities
like floods and cyclones.
I wholeheartedly support the theme of the conference which is
“Opportunities to build back more inclusively include identifying
vulnerable groups and their needs prior to a disaster, social
protection programs that target the most vulnerable and ensuring
that reconstruction does not overlook low-income and
geographically-isolated areas.”. The floods of 2018 brought the best
of Kerala out – we supported each other in a spirit of brotherhood,
without social or economic differences. This spirit will continue to
inspire us through all our recovery efforts.

 

We are happy to share our experiences with others and learn better
practices elsewhere. We see this forum as an important milestone
that will help us get better ideas in building our State better.
Thanks again for this invitation and looking forward to exchange of
valuable ideas.

Proud Moment for Kerala

London Stock Exchange is one of the oldest stock exchanges. 2600 companies from 60 countries are part of it. It is a matter of immense pleasure to have been able to open the London Stock Market for trade on 17th May. Beyond the personal happiness, this feat is an acknowledgement for Kerala at the global level.

The invitation for the same was offered by the stock exchange officials in connection with the listing of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Board (KIIFB) Masala Bond on the London Stock Exchange. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac and KIIFB Chief Executive Dr. K M Abraham also participated in the ceremony. The opening of stock market was ensued by a conversation with the stock exchange officials.

KIIFB Masala bonds are issued in order to collect money for the infrastructure development in the state. A bond that is issued outside India but denominated in Indian Rupees is called Masala Bond. The advantage is that the fluctuations in the exchange rate between Indian Rupee and Foreign currency will not affect the company or institution that issues these bonds. The risk is for those who invest in the bond. KIIFB has decided, with the due permission of the Reserve Bank, to collect 3500 crore rupees from the foreign market in the first phase. KIIFB Bond will also be listed on Singapore Stock Exchange.

Kerala is committed to ensure best infrastructural facilities in order to attract industrial investment. Financial constraints will not be an impediment in providing infrastructural facilities of an international standard.

Government is intervening with a realization that Kerala is lagging behind as an industrial investment hub. The government has already made policy framework for streamlining the industrial activities. Accordingly, changes have been made in laws and administrative procedures. Many a steps have been taken by the government to create an investment-friendly atmosphere. A single-window arrangement has already been set up to give online permissions for business. The bureaucratic inspection before the setting up of business has been done away with. Returns can now be filed online. Tax payment is also online.

All the procedures for industrial permissions have been made simple and transparent. Those who wish to invest in the industrial sector in Kerala will get good consideration from the government.

However, government will also make sure that the industrialization is not jeopardizing the environment. Legislations for the benefit of people’s welfare will also be carried out without fail.

Large scale IT companies are now in operation in government IT parks. Apart from this, Kerala is able to attract investment in other sectors too. The top priority of the government is to provide the youth with dignified job opportunities through industrial development. Improving basic amenities, creating highly qualified human resources and generating more investment opportunities by simplifying procedures are the immediate objectives of the government.

Large section of the tourists visiting Kerala are from Britain. However, the investment in tourism sector from Britain is below par. This shall also be rectified.

During the meetings held as part of the visit, entrepreneurs from the UK were invited to invest in Kerala. Investors were invited to our state in order to prove that Kerala is investment friendly both in word and deed.

Care Homes ready for the flood-hit people

The Government of Kerala has fulfilled its promise of constructing new houses for those rendered homeless by the megafloods in the State. Out of the 2000 houses that the Ministry of Cooperation has promised to build, 231 houses has been constructed in a time-bound manner. An amount of 5 lakhs was earmarked for building each house. This amount constitutes the four lakhs raised by the Ministry of Cooperation in addition to the one lakh released from the State Disaster Relief Authority’s Funds. At many places, the department could raise more than its target amount for house construction. The Department has ensured the time-bound completion of the houses with a daily appraisal system. The ‘Care Home’ project, which was started in December 2018 in Chengannur, is expected to be completed by April-May this year.

The mighty ‘Army of Kerala’ to enter it’s Police Force!

The fisherfolk of Kerala, now fondly called as the ‘Army of Kerala’, for the unparalleled support they rendered during the rescue operations during the recent Kerala floods has another reason to rejoice. 180 of them have been handed over their recruitment orders stating their appointment to the coastal police force. With this, another promise that was given to them by the Left-led Kerala government as part of the Okhi rehabilitation package stands fulfilled. This recruitment drive provides opportunities for the dependents of the victims of the Okhi disaster and also for women from the community. They will be used for operations including rescue operations in the sea. The ones who received the appointment order shall be undergoing a four months training programme at the Thrissur Police Academy before joining the Force.